Grenache is a small, upscale restaurant in Manchester, UK. Andy Foster is a 45-year-old waiter who started working at Grenache about three weeks ago. In addition to working at the restaurant, Foster takes care of his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Foster has other challenges besides balancing work and caring for his mother – he has autism.
According to Mike Jennings, who owns Grenache with his partner Karen Deveney, a table of customers told him that they did not want to be served by Foster. Jennings told the Manchester Evening News that he was “astonished” at the customers’ attitude. He said,
The customers seemed to have a problem with him, even though his service was good. I explained that he suffered from autism and their response was that they didn’t want to be served by him. They asked me why I would give him a job in a restaurant like ours. I couldn’t believe it.
Jennings said that the incident hurt Foster’s confidence, and he and Deveney had to reassure Foster that the problem was with the customers, not with him. Foster says that he has had similar experiences before.
I always feel that it’s automatically my fault and I go into defense mode. I always think I have to apologize. When I apologized to the customer she made such a fuss. The other table I was serving left a big tip so I knew it wasn’t me.
I try not to take it personally because it has happened so many times in the past I have just got used to it.
Jennings was so upset about the incident he took to the restaurant’s Facebook page to speak out about it. In that post he tells anyone who may have a similar attitude to just stay away from Grenache.
After posting that, Jennings and Deveney added this comment:
Cringed as I was posting this as I didn’t want people to think we were being rude… But then I thought, we need to stand up for what we believe in! Our staff are our foundation and this is our way of standing up for them! #equalopportunities
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Most of the over 500 comments on the post have praised Deveney and Jennings for standing up for their employee. The post has over 3,300 “likes” (or positive “reactions” under the new Facebook lingo), and has been shared almost 900 times.
Kudos to Jennings and Deveney for their stand! And if you’re ever in Manchester, Grenache’s address is: 15 Bridgewater Road, Manchester, UK.
Here are Jennings’ and Foster’s comments on the incident, via the Manchester Evening News:
Featured image via Facebook